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Dallas Cowboys 2022 NFL preseason round-up: rookies Tolbert, Williams, roster cuts…

The NFL teams cut down their rosters to 85 today and the Cowboys have made some adjustments already. But what are they doing about those penalties?

Update:
The NFL teams cut down their rosters to 85 today and the Cowboys have made some adjustments already. But what are they doing about those penalties?
C. Morgan EngelAFP

Cowboys cut roster down to 85

Today (Tuesday) is the day when all NFL teams have to cut their rosters down to 85 men. By the start of the regular season, they will have to cut them down to the final 53, but for now, cuts are being made little by little until then. It should be made official later today, but the Dallas Morning News reported that the Cowboys are waive-injuring CB Kyron Brown, FB Ryan Hall, TE Ian Bunting, and WR Ty Fryfogle, and just plain waiving DL Austin Faoliu.

You may have noticed that the kickers and quarterbacks have not changed. It remains to be seen whether the Cowboys will make other moves during the week to create roster space to bring someone in at those positions. The kicker situation remains a sticky one, though they brought in Brett Maher to try to help with their issues. It was Lirim Hajrullahu who missed the 56-yard field goal attempt in his preseason debut with the ‘Boys, while Maher’s extra point was good. There is still some assessing to be done as far as Maher. As for the quarterback situation. For now it seems the Cowboys will keep Cooper Rush and Ben DiNucci in as the backups to Dak Prescott, which is concerning after watching their performance against the Denver Broncos. But we will keep an eye out for any other moves throughout the week. The next roster cuts have to bring the team down to 80 and must be made by August 23.

Let’s talk about the Cowboys’ penalties

We could talk all day about who’s to blame for the Cowboys’ penalty problem, but in the end, it just needs to get solved.

In the preseason opener against the Broncos, Dallas had 17 penalties for 129 yards. That is a ridiculous amount of penalties and yards for one game, regardless of who’s playing. And it’s not a new issue. In fact, I’m tired of writing about it. The Cowboys were the most penalized team in 2021 with 141 penalties, 68 of which were thrown when they were playing away…more than any other team had at home. The fact that this is just the preseason isn’t doing much to comfort fans either. The coaching staff emphasized that the penalties were something they would work on most in the offseason. And yet… I’ve got a feeling this preseason opener was a pre-look at what’s to come.

Prescott leading young receiver core

The Cowboys have a problem at the wide receiver position similar to the one they had in 2018. Because of the loss of Amari Cooper to the Browns, Michael Gallup’s recovering ACL injury, and James Washington’s new injury from training camp, the Cowboys are left to rely on their no. 1 WR CeeDee Lamb…and then all the young guys. Jerry Jones seems confident in the receivers they have, but that confidence seems to stem more from a confidence in his quarterback than the individuals themselves. Prescott himself is more confident than he was in 2018 at least, when they lost Dez Bryant and had a young receiving core, too.

We’ve got a guy that, in CeeDee, to start the camp off that we didn’t have like that that year. That’s a big difference there just to begin. As well as my growth and my maturity as a quarterback and just this whole game, as well as elevating these other guys,” Prescott said. “Tight ends that can bring these other guys up with me as well. And it’s not necessarily just on me. That’s also where our passing game is going to evolve. We got a guy like [Pollard] that can get out there as well, so yeah, we’ll be fine.”

Even still, Prescott has been working a lot with the young group of receivers to try to get them ready for the real thing as soon as possible. Rookies Dennis Houston and Jalen Tolbert have taken several of the snaps in training camp and Prescott has been working with them to get them prepared for the regular season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on September 11.

Assessing the rookies’ debuts

How did wide receiver rookie Jalen Tolbert fare in the preseason opener against the Broncos? Meh. That about sums it up, to be honest. Tolbert was targeted seven times for just two catches and seven yards, and no touchdowns. He fumbled a pass on a fourth-down conversion attempt and had a False Start call soon after.

Left guard Tyler Smith was the Cowboys’ first-round pick in the draft, and the main concerns surrounding him were the amount of penalties he received in college. Well, he got two in the Cowboys’ preseason opener. He did make up for it a little bit with his ability to make pancake blocks in the run game and stop the opponents from getting anywhere. The penalties have to be cleaned up, though.

Defensive end Sam Williams was the second-round pick in the 2022 Draft and will take over Randy Gregory’s spot across from Demarcus Lawrence. He got a nice hit on the Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien just as he was throwing the ball and overall, the Cowboys were pleased with his performance.

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